The very first iPhone apps were universally dull. And then Bloom came out. Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers built the app and released it just a few months after Apple opened the App Store in July 2008. It was immediately obvious that something special was happening. The app was interesting on an artistic level, one that made you reconsider the relationship between technology and music. And my God, these two have done it again with augmented reality. Eno and Chilvers just revealed Bloom Open Space, an AR version of the original iPhone app. That app showed the world that smartphones weren’t just tools for checking email or listening to mp3s. They could be creative tools as well. Bloom enabled anyone to compose music simply by touching the screen. Each touch became a note and a corresponding colorful bubble called a Bloom that expanded on the screen as the soundtrack evolved according to a mysterious set of parameters. You could even compose a soundtrack and fall asleep to it thanks to … [Read more...] about The First Great iPhone App Grows Up
Developing virtual reality applications
For the past five days, I’ve spent nearly as much time in virtual reality as real reality. My calves ache and my neck is sore, but all in all I’ve had a pretty good time. I’ve been using the Vive, an ambitious new virtual reality system created by HTC and Valve. With the Vive set up in my living room, I’ve been everywhere from outer space to Aperture Science’s stark white labs to a quiet beach where I just sat on the ground and listened to the waves. Like, I actually sat on the ground. With my own butt. The Basics Valve and HTC’s Vive is the most immediately impressive (and imposing) VR headset on the market. It comes with a price to match: $800. For comparison’s sake, the Oculus Rift is $600, though it will get touch controllers later this year that will probably bring it a lot closer to the Vive in terms of price and functionality. PlayStation VR will come in a $500 bundle when it launches later this year. And of course, the Vive’s … [Read more...] about The Valve-Backed HTC Vive Is Virtual Reality At Its Best And Worst
Game of Thrones might be fantasy, but the characters are so deep and the betrayals so gripping that it feels real. And thanks to Oculus Rift, I just experienced a brief slice of life in the Seven Kingdoms. It was awesome—but I'm glad to be back in our reality. For the second year in a row, HBO will be hosting a traveling Game of Thrones exhibition, and the first preview of the multi-city nerd extravaganza is happening right now in New York. Inside, there's a prototype of one of the most thrilling Oculus Rift experiences I've ever had. Called "Ascend the Wall," the virtual reality scenario places you in the carriage of a lift that's scaling the 700 foot wall of ice in Game of Thrones. You know, this massive thing: The overall experience is super immersive, even if there's not a lot you can really do. I stepped into a cage-shaped booth and strapped on the original Oculus Rift 720p development kit—rather than the new 1080p prototype. An exhibit staffer set a pair of over ear … [Read more...] about The Oculus Rift Put Me In Game of Thrones and It Made My Stomach Drop
As digital technology continues to seep into every aspect of our analog lives, it seems it was only a matter of time before it started to replace our plain old visual experiences with something a little more tantalizing. Head-mounted displays, or HMDs, are an almost ancient piece of tech which have begun to see a reboot in the past few years as computers get more powerful, and the games inside them more visually spectacular by the day. In this article, we’re going to cut through the noise and give you the basics of the HMD revolution. We’ll cover the terms you need to know, the history of where they came from, and how far the technology might be taking us next. So if boring old regular reality just isn’t enough anymore, maybe it’s time to take a dip into the world of the virtual and see where you end up on the other side. Seeing Things Differently: a (Brief) History of HMDs Back in the 1960’s, a cinematographer named Morton Heilig had a crazy idea: what if … [Read more...] about Head Mounted Displays: What’s the Difference between Augmented and Virtual Reality?
The Windows 10 Creators Update—codenamed Redstone 2—will begin rolling out on April 11, 2017. Like other updates to Windows 10, it’s free, and includes a host of new features. It will be rolled out slowly like the Anniversary Update, so it will be a few months before Microsoft offers it to everyone. RELATED ARTICLEHow to Get Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update Now You can, however, upgrade to the Creators Update right now using an official tool from Microsoft. Not sure if you should rush to update? Here’s all the stuff you’ll find within. This post was originally written after Microsoft’s big October 26, 2016 event, but has since been updated with features from the final release. 3D for Everyone RELATED ARTICLEShould You Use the Windows 10 Insider Previews? Microsoft is making a big bet on 3D creativity with the Creators update. This is the company that bought Minecraft, after all. A new Paint 3D … [Read more...] about What’s New in Windows 10’s Creators Update
Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update, codenamed Redstone 3, is available to download now. Here are all the new features you’ll see in the latest version of Windows—and some big, splashy features Microsoft announced that never arrived. RELATED ARTICLEHow to Get Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update Now The update will be rolling out gradually over the next few weeks, but you can skip the wait and upgrade now using these instructions. This post was originally written based on features Microsoft announced at its BUILD 2017 event on May 11. It’s been updated with with features added in the insider builds all the way up to the final, stable release. OneDrive Shows Files in the Cloud, Downloading Them on Demand Microsoft announced “OneDrive Files on Demand”, which allows some files to be stored in the cloud and available to you without being synced on your local device. An older version of this feature appeared in Windows … [Read more...] about What’s New in Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update, Available Now